WRRI Subject Matter Experts on Guaranteed Buyout Programs

gboThe January 2013 issue of Mobility includes a feature story on Guaranteed Buyout Offers. Specifically, this piece, written by Aram Minnetian and Kevin Dircks, observes the current “over-reliance” on the BVO program by today’s companies, suggesting that the most effective homesale programs incorporate a judicious and complementary use of both BVO and GBO programs, irrespective of market cycles.

The story goes on to note that in addition to being one of the best options to prevent split-family relocations, the GBO can offer companies the best opportunity to reduce costs and risks by avoiding inventory. This is especially true when a GBO is coupled with strong policy language.

We always appreciate the opportunity to share our subject matter expertise with corporate mobility profesisonals as well as our peers. You can read the complete story online here.

Making Spirits Brighter

We never cease to be amazed and humbled by our colleagues’ commitment to positively impacting the lives of others, be it employees being relocated around the globe or families in need in their respective communities. This time of year in particular, even as the headlines seem impossibly bleak, they always seem to find time to make the season just a little bit brighter for those who need it most. The following are just a few examples of this:

  • Colleagues in our Houston office teamed with Wayne Murray of Weichert Wayne Murray Properties to help make some holiday wishes come true for a group of children undergoing cancer treatment at the MD Anderson Center. Just a few years ago, Wayne was a patient himself at the Center when he observed a group of nurses collecting money to buy gifts to fill the “wish lists” of children being treated there. Since then, helping to deliver on these wish lists has been an annual priority. After receiving this year’s lists–which didn’t happen until last Thursday, due to the number of children involved–Wayne and the Houston team worked diligently to fill those lists to the very last item. Yesterday, with all the gifts collected, Wayne picked them up at our Houston office and, as is his tradition, delivered them to the Center while dressed as Santa Claus.
  • Colleagues in our New Jersey office partnered with Jersey Cares to conduct a campus-wide coat drive, collecting gently-worn coats for men, women and children. Our NJ colleagues also participated in the 34th annual Weichert Toy Drive, donating approximately 450 toys to be distributed to local charities.
  • Colleagues in our Boston office recognized the season by once again partnering with a local Toys for Tots chapter and collecting everything from new bikes to dolls to electronic games to help struggling families fulfill their children’s holiday wishes.
  • Colleagues in our Calgary office reached out to Closer to Home, a non-profit agency that helps families in need, to find ways they could help out. The agency matched our team up with a single mother and her three children–-aged 11, 5 and 6 months–-and our colleagues went about collecting toys and gifts and other things on the family’s wish list. The team delivered the presents to Closer to Home’s office unwrapped, providing paper and tape and bows so that the mother could be involved in the process and share in the excitement of gift-giving. Our team never actually met the family they were helping, preferring to remain anonymous and keep the focus on helping this mom and her kids through a rough patch.

These simple gestures, representative of efforts of our colleagues worldwide, were undertaken as part of WRRI’s CommunityCares program, through which we encourage employee volunteerism and corporate giving that supports helping families and improving communities. May they serve to remind us all of what’s truly important as we head into the holidays.

Localization: Tips for Ensuring Success

lilttlelocal Although the definition can vary by company, in most cases, localization is basically defined as putting an international assignee on the same compensation and benefits package that other, “normal” employees in the host location receive.

Today, nearly 45% of companies surveyed by WRRI are using localization as a strategy in situations where the intent of an assignment is more permanent in nature or for international new hires who may already be “on location.” Despite the high usage rates, localization brings some challenges that companies need to be aware of.

  • Generally speaking, localization will be much more difficult when it involves employees from an advanced industrial nation moving to a lesser-developed country. Many countries have low standards of living, less sophisticated social security, retirement savings and pension systems, and less reliable currencies. All of those factors can spell trouble for the long-term planning crucial to localization.
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WRRI Earns More Global Honors at Asian EMMAs

blurmansmall Over the past few months, WRRI has been proud to earn a number of distinctions at the global EMMA Awards, presented by the Forum for Expatriate Management to celebrate excellence in global workforce mobility.

During the EMMAs for the Americas region in September, we were named Relocation Management Company of the Year–the program’s highest honor–in light of our “client service excellence” and “robust culture.”

The following month, at the European EMMA Awards ceremony in London, we earned a “highly commended” honor in the Relocation Management of the Year category.

Today, we were ecstatic to learn that we once again finished among the companies honored in the Relocation Management Company of the Year category at the Asia Pacific EMMA Awards, earning a second-place ranking. Considering the number of global organizations competing in this category, we were very impressed with this finish and the positive acknowledgment of our efforts and profile in this region.

So, with the final set of regional EMMAs awarded, we are proud to be the only relocation management company to have been ranked among the top three in the RMC of the Year category at all three regional EMMA awards. It’s a remarkable achievement and testament to the fine work and commitment of our global colleagues. Thanks to the Forum for Expatriate Management for hosting the awards, and to the judging panels and voters.

WRRI Sponsoring CERC Webinar on Year-end Tax

WRRI is proud to be sponsoring the Canadian Employee Relocation Council’s (CERC) next webinar, “Preparing for Your Tax Year End,” on Thursday, December 6, 2012 at 2:00pm ET.

If you are a global mobility administrator or part of your company’s tax, HR, finance, payroll or executive compensation team, this information will be of great importance to you, offering year-end tax tips to help you end 2012 on a positive note.

Topics will include payroll review before year-end, completion of annual compensation information returns, completion of forms T626 and relevé 17, and preparing for 2013. You can register today at CERC’s website.

Thoughts from the Charlotte Metro Area Relocation Council Meeting

WRRI was a proud sponsor of the Charlotte Metro Area Relocation Council meeting, held Thursday, November 15. We also had the opportunity to share our subject matter expertise, as our VP of Consulting, Ellie Sullivan, was a featured panelist at the event, leading a discussion on building a workforce mobility policy that reflects corporate culture. After the meeting, Ellie offered us some quick observations and advice gleaned from the mobility professionals in attendance.

1) Companies need to protect their lump-summers and renters! Many of the qualified brokers and destination service providers in attendance noted that fraudulent rentals are becoming more abundant on the Internet. Not only does this expose transferees to scams, it can also lead to service issues and dissatisfaction when the rentals they thought were available turn out to be non-legitimate. Their advice: prepare your renters, provide counseling and, yes, provide a guided (paid) rental search as part of policy. As rental markets shrink, renters need to be prepared to act quickly with deposit and references in hand!

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